Monday, January 2, 2012

Let 2012 be a Piece of Cake

This story on the healing powers of old-fashioned chocolate chip pound cake ran on Patch Sunday morning. If you have any comments or recipes to share, please go to the Patch site. Thank you to everyone who has read these columns, written comments, and shared recipes these past few months. It has always been my dream to write a weekly food column (really! ) and you have helped me do it. Happy New Year and may 2012 be full of health, happiness, sweetness and many, many pieces of cake, both real and imaginary.
Jodi Skriloff’s Grandma Becky’s recipe

Sunday Night Supper: Let Them Eat Cake

Some nights, cake solves everything.
Some nights, you just want to bury your head in the sand and ask for mercy. My older son came home on one of those nights, looking miserable.
"Today was nothing but bad news," he said. He hadn't done well on a test and had banged his head again in wrestling, getting another concussion, causing the school trainer to say he couldn't wrestle again until he saw a doctor. I had just gotten back from my own doctor, with yet another prescription for antibiotics for a sinus infection that would not go away. My birthday was in five days, and I was pretty sure no one had made any plans for it - except me, in my head. It was cold out, gray and December. Not quite the holidays, but with all that anxiety and pressure of having to get stuff for people hanging in the air. I hugged my older son and tried to make him feel better.
"Oh," he said. "I have to bring snack for advisory."
"What does that mean?"
"I have to bring in snack for advisory," he said slowly.
"When is advisory?"
"Tomorrow morning at 9:20."
"You're telling me now?" It was 6:15 p.m.
"You can just get donuts or bagels or something."
When was I supposed to do that? My younger son had basketball practice that night and I had to read papers for a writing class I teach.
"Sit down and have dinner," I commanded.
Dinner was macaroni and cheese out of the box for my younger son and heated-up chicken soup from the night before for my older son. My husband was out with someone from work. We ate and tried to be cheerful. As much as I enjoy cooking, the nights when I don't cook, or don't cook much, are just as pleasant as the night when I do. When we finished dinner, I felt oddly energetic. I could see why people didn't feel the compulsion to cook like maniacs all the time. I tried to figure out when I was going to run to the local Dunkin Donuts or bagel place, neither of which was open at night. I could get up early in the morning and run out but that would really suck. Then I remembered a recipe I had found on my computer earier that afternoon. The advisory kids could have that.
It was a recipe for chocolate chip pound cake. I had discovered it on my desktop and printed it out. (I also found a picture of one of my kids' classmates, a pretty girl in short shorts, gleefully giving me the finger.) I couldn't remember who had sent the recipe to me but I thought it might be my husband's aunt Elaine, who had made a chocolate chip poundcake the prior Saturday night when we went to her house to celebrate her son's birthday. But I didn't remember receiving a follow-up recipe from Elaine and this pound cake had a cinnamon and sugar topping, which Elaine's cake didn't have. Plus, the recipe was typed in Courier, not a font Elaine normally used. I thought the recipe might have come from my friend Denise, who is super organized and sends recipes out as soon as you ask for them. But her son has celiac and she was unlikely to use a recipe that called for two cups of cake flour. Finally, I went through my emails and saw the recipe was from my friend Terri, who sends me what turns into all my best cooking ideas. But Courier wasn't a font she used either.
I emailed Terri. "Whose recipe is this?"
"Madeline Weiner's friend's grandmother," she typed back. "Do you want to call her?"
Yes, I wanted to call her. This was a night that called for tallking to Grandma, dead or alive. I called Madeline, who said the recipe came from her friend Jodi Skriloff. I called Jodi and she confirmed that the recipe had indeed come from her Grandma Becky. "She made it for the brunch for my bat mitzvah," Jodi said. (Jodi's bat mitzvah was in May 1979.) "That was when everybody started to eat it and ever since then, everyone has been taking the recipe and making the recipe. My grandmother also had a really awesome apple cake recipe, realy heavy and delicious." Could she send that along too? Jodi said sure. "I'l tell you a little tip," she added. "I always freeze the pound cake, and cut it frozen. It's really good frozen."
This chocolate chip pound cake has very simple ingredients that you're likely to have on hand. There is no sifting of flour or waiting for the chocolate to melt or cool, no rolling out of pie dough, no separating of eggs. It took me five minutes to gather the ingredients. Then I asked my older son if he wanted to bake the cake with me. Normally, when I ask him if he wants to cook or bake with me, he says, "I have to..." and it turns out he is doing something very important and meaningless on Facebook. But this night, he said sure. For 25 minutes, we stood together in the kitchen and baked. He buttered the tube pan and mixed up the butter, cream cheese, and eggs while I measured out the dry ingredients.
This is one of the easiest cakes you'll ever make. We started at 6:52 and finished at 7:15, then put the cake in the oven. It was old fashioned and wonderful. As I sliced it up, I took the crumbs, put them on a plate and called for my kids to come down. We could not wait for it to freeze so we stood around the kitchen, cooing and licking the hot crumbs off our fingers. That cake pretty much solved all our problems that night. Or it seemed to, which is almost the same thing.
Grandma Becky's Chocolate Chip Poundcake
Beat together:  
8oz pkg cream cheese  
1 stick butter  
1 ¼ c sugar  
2 eggs  
1 tsp vanilla  
In another bowl mix:
2c cake flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
Add dry ingredients to creamy mixture
Add ¼ c milk and mix all tog.
Add 1 pkg mini chocolate chips. Mix well and pour into greased tube pan.
Sprinkle with ½ c cinnamon sugar mixture
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until tester is clean.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds yummy and I love that it is so quick! Thanks for sharing:)